GUN Dockers draftee Neil Erasmus says he’s still having to pinch himself about his dream job after a rip-roaring start to the season.
The 18 year old made his debut during the Western Derby back in April and with a lot of expectations riding on his shoulders he didn’t disappoint fans; it didn’t take long before they’d started up a chant: “Oh, Neil Erasmus.”
The midfielder racked up 18 disposals, nine kicks, nine handballs, four marks and two tackles as he helped propel the Docker’s to their second consecutive Derby victory.
Erasmus, who harks from South Africa, was already being noticed by talent scouts when he was picked for Hale School’s top team.
He was quickly snapped up by Subiaco Lions Colts and represented WA in the U18 state teams, but he’d barely played a WAFL game before the Dockers draped him in purple.
This fresh burst into the limelight hasn’t gotten to his head just yet.
“It’s easy to take for granted. Travelling away and getting free accommodation and free food, I have to pinch myself and say ‘this is my job now’.”
Erasmus is happy with how he’s settled into the club and says a professional structure is a great environment to thrive in.
“I’m just so fortunate for the job that I have and I’m sure there are a lot worse things I could be doing in my spare time.”
Erasmus says despite the interest generated by his debut, public outings with fellow Fremantle players allow him to fly under the radar.
“Most of my time away from the club is spent with people from the club so most of the time I can get away with not being noticed and getting attention because the people that I’m with get noticed more than me. There’s a few photos but you’ve just got to smile and wave!”
Erasmus has played five of a possible 13 games this year, but takes the omissions in his stride.
“Unless you are a freak like Dave (Mundy) and can play forever, there will always be bumps along the way for most footballers, which I am experiencing early on in my career. [That] can be a good thing and a bad thing … getting dropped can put someone in good stead further on in their career so I see it as a learning experience more than anything else.”
As to future roles Erasmus says: “I see myself spending the majority of my time in the mid, but versatility his a key part to my game so I’m happy to play another role, whether that be small forward or medium forward, or any other role in the team – but ideally I see myself playing mainly midfield minutes.”
Erasmus said being a one-club player would be a “dream” allowing him to stay in WA near his parents.
“The perfect career? I’m not going to lie, it would be pretty nice to have two Brownlows and a handful of All Australian Blazers,” he said.
Fremantle face off against Carlton at 11:45am today (June 25) at Marvel Stadium, after last week’s scheduled bye, with Erasmus crossing his fingers for selection.
by BEN RANDALL